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Photograph: Roberto Seba

65 Melburnians on what they’re doing for self care right now

Lockdown has been tough, so we asked Melbourne about what’s bringing them joy right now

By Rebecca Russo
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What have Melburnians been doing to keep themselves occupied during lockdown 2.0? Sounds like there's been a lot of walks, binge-watching and seeing friends over Zoom. What's become abundantly clear though, is that the Melbourne community is hella resilient. It hasn't been easy. It's been really rough, actually. But we're so proud of you for sticking with it. 

So what's helping you right now? What are you doing right now to look after yourself? Maybe it's a spot of gardening. Maybe it's simultaneously watching a show with a friend. Maybe it was a new exercise routine. We decided to ask a bunch of Melburnians about what's helping them keep calm and smile right now.

How Melburnians are looking after themselves during lockdown:

“Planting new roses and watching them grow every day. Can’t wait to see the first flush of colour.” - Dog walker, 56, Essendon.

“Yesterday I went to a Zoom sewing bee. Zoom Scrabble is a regular highlight. I have a weekly Zoom dinner. It’s all about seeing people.” - Teacher, 52, Highett. 

"Going for walks in the hour before the curfew takes effect is really beautiful. You feel like a tiny speck in the universe and it's very comforting." - Writer, 27, Hawthorn. 

“Trying (one last time) to tackle Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’.” - Content Advisor, 26, Footscray.

“I’ve loved getting back into my running since gyms are out of action - particularly more enjoyable now that the weather is picking up” - Physiotherapist, 29, Kensington.

“I'm going walking by the beach most days; the sound of the waves is very soothing.” - Journalist, 35, Bentleigh.  

“Trying to keep myself active and brave the cold waters of the Bay. I’ve also started journaling to try and get on top of the mental challenges of lockdown.” - Engineer, 30, South Kingsville. 

 

"By day I’ve memorised every route around and to the Maribyrnong River. By night I’ve memorised every AFL player's name and stats.” - Account manager, 30, Footscray.

 

Not gonna lie, it's hard... I've just started my nursing journey in the middle of a pandemic... So my self-care is probably not the greatest as it's just work, eat and sleep at the moment but my husband is a big help, sometimes.” - Student, 26, Frankston.

"I'm making sure I get out of the house first thing for a stretch on my mat at the park. Then even if it's a bad day I feel as though I've achieved something." - Designer, 30, Flemington.

“I’m enjoying the variety of walking tracks within my new suburb while listening to soothing music and how it gives me a time out in between the stress of working as a nurse during a pandemic.” - Clinical nurse specialist, 26, Glenroy.

“I’m super cool so I finished my Elton John cross stitch and am starting on some more Golden Girls cross stitches.” - Publicist, 39, Brighton. 

“Waving at my neighbourhood dogs from my sunny stoop!” - Festival producer, 30, Brunswick.

“I have loved finally watching The Sopranos. I began at the start of lockdown and am now onto the final season. Also grateful to have a garden that I can grow flowers and veggies in!” Teacher, 32, Thornbury.

“I've been puzzling and doing a lot of online shopping followed by obsessively checking my Auspost notifications.” - Artist manager, 31, Northcote.

“Enjoying riding a bike without so many cars on the road.” - Urban planner, 29, Thornbury.

“I love playing games with my family or having fun with makeup and cosplay” - Registered nurse, 28, Derrimut.

“I'm listening (and dancing) to a ridiculous amount of ‘80s pop because music has never been better at harnessing pure joy unapologetically than it was back then.“ - Freelance writer, 30, St Kilda.

 

"I’ve been doing a lot of gardening to pass the time and getting back into actually making art instead of just thinking about doing it.” - Recently unemployed, 27, Braybrook.

 

“Inviting online friends to do a one hour walk together if they’re nearby.” - Anaesthetist, 50, Fitzroy.

“Running a weekly game of Dungeons of Dragons over Zoom and building myself a new guitar from old parts.” - Teacher, 30, Brunswick West.

“Seeing my edible veggie garden thriving and reaping the benefits of iso attention and passion.” - Healthcare worker, 58, Oak Park.

"I've got a list of movies that I've always wanted to watch, and I'm using all this time to slowly tick them off." - Banking consultant, 28, Hawthorn. 

“Playing overly competitive Scrabble with my boyfriend and dragging him out for walks to admire architecture and flowers.” - Freelance translator, 45, Rowville.

“Eating spoonfuls of peanut butter when my husband and son aren’t watching.” - Admin officer, 32, Pascoe Vale. 

“Putting on extra weight by eating as much food as I possibly can with regular trips to the food and pantry.” - Postal worker, 58, Gowanbrae.

“Purposely listening to an entire album or composition from start to finish as a solitary act of enjoyment rather than a passive background distraction to driving or cleaning or working.” - Music publishing coordinator, 31, South Yarra. 

“I’m really enjoying my long walks around all the paths in my local parks. I go up, down and around to see the buildings and gardens from all angles, listening to podcasts or relaxing music as I go. Looking up and around, not down at my phone.” - Commercial director, 34, Carlton.

 

"Hiding from my son and wife to read the junk mail." - Team leader, 33, Pascoe Vale. "

 

“I’m really enjoying reconnecting with painting. What started as a joke for my girlfriend has now turned into still life art. I’m painting things I see and my favourite people and even painted a book for my new nephew.” - Managing director, 38, Coburg. 

“I’m really enjoying turning trash into treasure. I’ve taken old vases and pots and adding a terracotta filter to them to have new-look homewares.” - Sales worker, 30, Carlton.

“Getting one little thing done each day around the house makes me feel like there’s some sort of progress while the world outside stands still.” - Freelance creative, 37, Flemington.

“I’m loving putting on a face mask and drinking mimosas in the sun on the weekend.” - Client service manager, 32, Fitzroy North.

“Researching and buying copious amounts of house pants. Rewatching a lot of beloved older television series… also making my friends laugh by sending them filthy or silly videos from the Talkr app.” - University tutor, 39, South Yarra. 

“Getting my live-in photojournalist husband to glamour-shoot my domesticity. And cooking food made with love for my local mates living on their own.” - Community health worker, 54, Richmond. 

"I'm loving putting in extra time and effort into cooking, my housemate and I are ripping through Bon Appetit's veggie and pescetarian recipes. I've also gotten bloody good at cocktail making, ready to open up the home bar to friends once restrictions are lifted" - Account Manager, 30, Kensington.

“I”m making voodoo dolls… just waiting for the pins to arrive.” Comedian, 29, St Kilda.

“Working from home, walking our dog and the home gym.” - Accountant, 48, Hampton. 

“We’re watching a lot of older movies and new TV shows, going for walks, playing board games, patting and making fun of our cat, working on creative projects and drastically reducing our social media usage.” - Filmmaker, 45, Coburg. 

 

"I adopted a greyhound and have spent this time putting all my love into that brindle girl.” - Account manager, 29, Moonee Ponds.

 

“To clear my head, I put a podcast on and go for a run around Edinburgh Gardens.” - Director, 33, Fitzroy North. 

“Controlled breathing, cuddling my three cats, husband hugs, walking and venting to friends.” - Accounts payable officer, 50, Pascoe Vale. 

“Exploring my neighbourhood in detail, Lego, baking and ‘Gold Class’ movie Friday nights at home.” - IT operations manager, 47, Collingwood.

“Online yoga classes with Westside Yoga, morning walks with my dog, daily doses of Cadbury rocky road chocolate and creating a Halloween magazine with my wife.” - Freelance journalist, 47, West Footscray. 

“I love getting into the kitchen to try out new recipes and connecting with friends and family over the phone – sometimes both at once!” - Nurse, 37, Hampton Park. 

“Riding my bike was hard through winter, but much happier now I can get out of the house and ride again.” - IT support, 44, Footscray. 

“I’m doing embroidery to disconnect from screens as I’ve found that it helps keep my mind focussed on one task.” - Warehouse coordinator, 29, South Kingsville. 

“Feeding my sourdough starter, Margot, and occasionally making bread with her which I don’t eat because I only eat bread in sandwiches.” - Software tester, 46, Ferntree Gully. 

“I have learnt to slow down, something I have never done in all my years of working full time. I’m enjoying my walks, reading books and drawing. That’s happiness for me at the moment.” - Retail manager, 56, Craigieburn. 

 

"I’ve taken up a fitness regime to clear my head each day. With homeschooling, full-time work and a house full of people, it gives me ‘me’ time." - Chef, 39, Narre Warren.

 

“I am enjoying having more time for my yoga practice and more time for self-reflection and development through meditation, journaling and reading.” - Nurse, 27, Maribyrnong.

“I turned the front room of the house into a gym for workouts.” - Teacher, 30, Oakleigh.

"I'm really enjoying reading trashy fantasy novels and laughing with a friend while looping the Maribyrnong River." - Journalist, 28, Yarraville. 

“My mental health wasn’t really affected because I was still working. However, once I was injured, my mental health took a nosedive. I’ve been getting into fitness and I’ve started an educational trans blog.” - Nurse, 27, Frankston.

“Rely on humans. Some days are good and I’m an ear, an advice giver or just an air hug. Other days if I’m not, I lean on them. Getting through this remotely together has certainly helped me to not feel alone.” - Sales associate, 22, Carrum Downs. 

“I have taken up yoga again and am exploring a different part of my neighbourhood each day on my one hour walk.” - Media planner, 29, Brunswick. 

“I’ve enjoyed a daily bike ride and making my way through all 16 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy.” - Sales manager, 33, Glenroy.

“I’ve become an expert sourdough baker (and eater) and skincare routine enthusiast.” - Account manager, 26, Malvern.

“Getting through Covid-19 by binging video games, 90 Day Fiancé, and inflicting dad jokes on my students. Surviving with the support of my partner, colleagues and Discord server.” - Teacher, 31, Flemington.

 

"I’ve enjoyed exploring the walking tracks along Werribee River, some of which I’ve never used in the eight years I’ve lived here. And I’m finally finishing off some half-completed garden projects." - Nurse, 38, Werribee.

 

“I am grateful to be working because it is what gets me through at the moment. I have finally got myself to start yoga in the mornings. Other than that, binge-watching a series and movies and some jewellery making basically.” - Veterinarian, 33, Sandringham.  

“Breathe in the sunshine, cook a great meal or get delicious take out. Do something for me.” - Programs officer, 47, Narre Warren South. 

"I'm immersing myself in domestic crafts. I've been baking (yes, sourdough), sewed myself a dress, crocheted some jumpers and am propagating seedlings in a corner of my work from home office." - Librarian, 35, Flemington.

“I started playing video games again and met someone really special who has helped me through some really rough days.” - Forklift driver, 31, Somerville.

If you or someone you know needs support, please call Lifeline (13 11 14) or Beyond Blue (1800 512 348).

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